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Marc Forster talks about his direction on `Quantum of Solace`

12-Oct-2008 • Quantum Of Solace

The latest 007 movie Quantum of Solace is directed by an unlikely candidate Marc Forster, the man behind Monster’s Ball and The Kite Runner - reports Star Online

It was perhaps, to understate the case, a surprise that Marc Forster should direct a big budget action adventure like Quantum of Solace, the latest James Bond outing.

Many raised an eyebrow when it was announced that Forster - the director of such diverse films as Monster’s Ball, Finding Neverland and The Kite Runner - would take on the 22nd James Bond movie, but producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson were convinced that they had found the right man for the job.

Even so, Forster himself took a little convincing.

“My first reaction was that I didn’t want to do the movie. I wasn’t interested,” he says candidly. “I only did the meeting out of courtesy to the studio. I like Sony, and I’d worked with them before and eventually when I sat down with them I thought Barbara and Michael were very charming and interesting, and I felt like they were very director-driven.

“And I felt that, yes, there is this framework of the Bond world and one has to make the movie within that, but at the same time I felt like I could have the space to create my own Bond.”

And that’s exactly what Forster did.

Once on board, he revelled in the challenge of working with Daniel Craig, an actor he had admired for years, and creating a contemporary action thriller that not only honours the world’s longest running movie franchise, but drives it forward.

Forster felt that Craig’s acclaimed debut as Bond, in the smash hit Casino Royale, had taken the character to an interesting, new place.

“I thought Daniel brought a humanity and a vulnerability back to Bond,” he explains. “I felt that the psychological aspect was interesting. He was someone people could relate to; he wasn’t this remote, super-hero.

“And that I found really interesting and I felt if I could get a little more psychological and vulnerable with him and push the character a little further than they went in Casino Royale, then I could make a really interesting movie.”

Forster was born in Germany and raised in Switzerland. As a boy, he watched Bond movies on television, and later, sought them out at the cinema.

“I liked the early ones with Sean Connery. And then I saw a couple with Roger Moore and the one with George Lazenby, and then I saw one with Timothy Dalton and a couple of the ones that Pierce Brosnan did,” he recalls.

“I didn’t see every single one and I didn’t go back and watch them all because I always intended to create my own. I went back and watched my favourite ones just to give a little bit of homage here and there.”

Forster is also a fan of the action genre.

“The Bourne series is really well done, and they are really good movies. I thought the craftsmanship was excellent. I thought The Matrix, the first one, was very interesting too. And over the years there have been some very interesting action films - James Cameron is a very talented action director with Terminator 1 and 2 and Aliens. Those are all really good action films. So I think I was always very drawn to action pictures, in a sense, and that’s why I agreed ultimately to do one.”

Taking the helm of a mammoth production, which travelled to exotic locations all over the world - including Panama, Chile, Italy, Austria and the UK - for a gruelling six-month-long shoot was daunting but rewarding, he says.

“It was the longest shoot I’ve ever done, and we did a lot of six-day weeks, so it was tiring. But now it’s all done, I’m feeling great about the movie and in good spirits

“Actually, one of the reasons why I took it was because I wanted to see how an action film is made. It was a challenge but it was a lot of fun too. I think what I realised is that shooting action is not as difficult as writing action. The key to really good action is writing it. It has to be there on the page so you can figure it out. Because shooting action ultimately is executing what is on the page, and it has to be really detailed.”

Quantum of Solace starts immediately after Casino Royale finished - an hour later in real time. The woman he fell in love with had betrayed Bond - the murdered Vesper Lynd played by Eva Green - and he wants answers.

His quest ultimately leads him to Dominic Greene (played by Mathieu Amalric), the head of a shadowy organisation called Quantum, which is secretly trying to gain control of some of the developing world’s most precious natural resources.

Bond tries to stop Quantum but his boss, M, played by Dame Judi Dench, fears that he is out of control. Bond also discovers that he can trust no one - and that Quantum’s influence reaches far and wide, and that he now has enemies within the CIA and indeed the British government.

“Judi Dench is one of the greatest actresses living today,” says Forster.

“And I felt that she was always slightly underused in the other films. I felt like they didn’t give her a large enough part, and personally I could watch her read the phone book. So I wanted to make her part bigger and give her more scenes and have her interact with Bond more because she is the only woman Bond doesn’t see in a sexual context, and I find that really interesting.

Forster is also delighted with the cast recruited for Quantum of Solace - Mathieu Amalric, who was spectacular in the highly acclaimed The Diving Bell and The Butterfly, and relative newcomers Olga Kurylenko as Camille, and Gemma Arterton as Agent Fields.

“Mathieu Amalric is one of the most brilliant actors working today, and I wanted someone who had this very innocent, friendly and soft demeanour because you know the interesting thing about villains these days is that it’s not like it was during the Cold War, where there were clearly defined good guys and bad guys.

“Now the good guys and the bad guys are mixed up - there’s not someone who is just bad or just good. You know, Bond can be as bad as the bad guy can be good.

“The idea with casting Olga was to find someone who is a mirror image, a counterpart to Bond, who also has lost someone and understands what that feels like and is looking for someone who took the loved ones from her. And at the same time her character is someone who has the same emotional unavailability that Bond has. Because Bond is someone who obviously struggles with expressing his emotions, we wanted to find someone who was like that.

“We wanted someone who is very physical and strong and knows how to handle a gun. And Olga was just fantastic.

“And so was Gemma. She plays an MI6 agent stationed in Bolivia. Her Agent Fields is the opposite of Camille’s character. Her character feels more quirky and light and funny and vulnerable.

“The important thing about casting those two is that you see Bond reacting with both of those girls and you can see how he is in both of those situations.”

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